- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Superhero and cartoon characters are integral parts of the electronic entertainment industry. With this in mind, I salute the meld of pop-culture character and video game with a look at  inFamous 2 (from Sony Computer Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions, reviewed for PlayStation 3, rated Teen, $59.99).

The electrifying life of Cole MacGrath continues in this third-person adventure game exclusive to the PS3 and loaded with free-roaming action.

Just as in the first inFamous, the solo player becomes part of the ultimate superhero or super villain experience, as good and bad choices he makes determine Cole’s look, personality and powers.

Get ready for boss battles against monsters, fights against waves of mercenaries and the control of advanced superpowers as our powerhouse explores a city in need of salvation but mired in destruction.

What’s the Story? Paraphrased from the game literature: Blamed for the destruction of Empire City and haunted by the ghosts of his past, reluctant hero Cole MacGrath makes a dramatic journey to the historic Southern city of New Marais in an effort to discover his full superpowered potential — and face a civilization-ending confrontation with a dark and terrifying enemy called the Beast. Gifted with extraordinary, godlike abilities, Cole alone has the power to save humanity, but the question is — will he choose to do so?

Play the role: In control of the bike-messenger-turned-superpowered-being (with the agility and climbing abilities of Spider-Man and powers of a Sith Lord, no less), the player takes on missions and side missions within six districts of the Cajun-infused city (to be confused with New Orleans). He can enhance and unlock his powers in preparation for a final showdown with a massive molten man.

As in the original, the player makes choices that will bring out either the good or bad in Cole.

It is a pure schizophrenic Jedi vs. Sith event as a karma meter allows the player to monitor Cole’s status. He might completely wipe out a camp to kill militia and civilians (evil), stop a mugging (good), kill pesky street musicians (evil) or eliminate a group of protesters (pure evil).

Players should explore slowly and appreciate the developer’s intricate designs for the devastated historic city, including the detailed architecture in the cathedral at St. Ignatius, the foreboding tombs of St. Charles Cemetery and a waterlogged district known as Flood Town that’s filled with creatures and ice soldiers.

Missions might include collecting blast shards to increase his energy storage, protecting Dr. Wolf while perched in the back of a pickup truck, disrupting TV dish signals so his buddy Zeke can broadcast propaganda, taking reconnaissance photos, or simply guarding a trash-talking militia member (of course, I electrocuted him).

By the way, I chose to hone the evil side of Cole by killing the innocent and causing destruction on a massive scale. It was quite creepy to watch Cole’s face became paler, veins standing out on his temples, and nasty tattoos popping up on his arms the more inFamous he became.

Get to the action: Just like in the last game, Cole is a one-man army as he harnesses the powers of electricity (blue or red bolts) and uses it to attack militia and mutants through some mind-blowing super powers.

Those wild powers are upgraded by collecting experience points, and include an ionic vortex that can wipe out a city block and a lightning tether that can pulls Cole toward targeted objects. Zeke also has built him an electrified club called the Amp that delivers crushing attacks with Cole’s combination moves.

When he runs out of energy, he can go to any item or being with an electrical pulse and suck their energy. That includes street lamps, trolley cars, stoplights, vehicles and even a giant neon sign of a stripper hanging over the Yes We Can Can Cabaret.

He can also align with one of two female characters who will bring out the best or worst in Cole.

Story Continues →